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Richard Loeser, MD

Dr. Richard Loeser, Director of Thurston Arthritis Research Center

Dr. Loeser’s primary research goal is to discover the basic mechanisms relevant to joint tissue destruction in osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis (OA) is the leading cause of pain and disability in older adults. A better mechanistic understanding of OA is needed in order to develop interventions that can slow or stop disease progression before advanced joint tissue destruction occurs.

Dr. Loeser’s lab uses a combination of in vitro experiments using human joint tissue cells and in vivo experiments in rodent models to study cell signaling pathways that regulate anabolic and catabolic activity responsible for joint tissue remodeling and destruction. The lab is particularly interested in determining how reactive oxygen species regulate chondrocyte signaling downstream of integrins, cytokines, and growth factors through the oxidation of specific cysteine residues in kinases and phosphatases as well as other intracellular proteins. The lab is studying how oxidative stress that occurs with aging and joint injury can alter the activity of these signaling pathways.

Additional interests of the lab include studies of the cytokine Macrophage Migration Inhibitory Factor (MIF) in OA, as well as studies of vitamin K-dependent proteins present in joint tissues, and the relationship between vitamin K insufficiency and OA. Dr. Loeser has also participated as a co-investigator in studies on the benefits of exercise and weight loss interventions in older adults with OA.

Dr. Loeser's lab team.
Researchers in Dr. Loeser’s lab use a combination of technologies & techniques to better understand osteoarthritis.